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Anglo-Indian carved ivory model

A Remarkable Anglo-Indian Carved Ivory Model of the HazarduariPalace in Murshidabad
Circa 1837
Estimated price: £30,000-50,000
Height: 18 centimetres (7.06 inches) Width: 96.8 centimetres (38.5 inches)
Depth: 47 centimetres (18.5 inches)

Having remained unseen and untouched for almost half a century, the Collection of Professor Sir Albert Richardson, P.R.A. (1880-1964) – the celebrated collector, architect and President of the Royal Academy (1954-1956) – will be auctioned over two days in London later this month.

Providing a window into an older, some would say more civilised world, the piece that caught my eye is a remarkable Anglo-Indian carved ivory model of the HazarduariPalace in Murshidabad, made around 1837, which the Professor bought for £50 in 1949.

Hazarduari means ‘the one with a thousand doors’, although 900 of the 1,000 doors of the palace are actually false. It was built by Colonel Duncan Macleod of the Bengal Corps of Engineers during the reign of Mubarak Ali Khan, who is better known as Hamayun Jah, Nawab of Bengal.

An ivory miniature model of the palace was prepared by Colonel Duncan’s assistant Sagore Mistri as a gift to be sent from Hamayun Jah to King William IV, together with portraits of the Nawab and his son. The King acknowledged the receipt of the paintings and other gifts by letter and in appreciation honoured the Nawab with the badge and insignia of the Royal Guelphic and Hanoverian Order and with the gift of a state portrait of himself. The King’s gifts are still preserved in the Palace, which is now a museum, housing the Nawab’s collections and under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India.

Christie’s Sale of the Collection of Professor Sir Albert Richardson, P.R.A., will be held on September 18 and 19, 2013 in London. For more information visit http://www.christies.com.

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on September 8, 2013.